NORTH PORT, Fla. — Marcell Ozuna halted his most-recent skid by highlighting a two-hit performance with a sky-high, wind-aided home run in the Braves’ 5-2 win over the Rays on Thursday afternoon at CoolToday Park.

Ozuna doubled in the second inning against Michael Wacha, then drilled his second home run of the spring in the sixth against Chaz Roe. The home run appeared to be a routine pop fly until the wind carried it just over the top of the left-field wall.

“He’s swinging the bat well,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s having good extended at-bats as well. He’s laying off some balls. He’s had some really good at-bats.”

Ozuna entered the game hitting .179 (5-for-28) with two doubles and a homer. He had gone 1-for-10 with a double and three walks since hitting that only other home run on March 16.

Snitker had each of his projected everyday position players in the lineup on Thursday, and he plans to do the same again over the final three or four games of Spring Training. His hope is that playing on a daily basis will give Ozuna and the other regulars the chance to get a good feel for their respective swings before the April 1 season opener in Philadelphia.

Edwards bows out
After being told he would not be placed on the Opening Day roster, Carl Edwards Jr. informed the Braves he was opting out of his Minor League contract. The right-handed reliever is now a free agent.

Edwards posted a 1.08 ERA over eight appearances (8 1/3 innings) this spring, but he had to escape a bases-loaded threat in two of those outings, and he surrendered either a hit or a walk to 13 of the 36 batters he faced (36.1%).

With Edwards out of the picture, the Braves may give one of their bullpen spots to Nate Jones, another non-roster veteran who has not allowed a run over his 6 1/3 innings this spring. He has allowed just two hits and hasn’t issued a walk while facing 20 batters.

The top candidates for the final three available bullpen spots are Jones, Luke Jackson, Grant Dayton and Huascar Ynoa. Like Jones, Jackson and Dayton are both out of options. So while Ynoa might be a valuable bullpen piece throughout a significant portion of the season, he might start the year on Triple-A Gwinnett’s roster.

Contreras strengthens resume

It wasn’t surprising to see Ehire Adrianza and William Contreras at the center of the eighth-inning uprising that gave the Braves the win Thursday. Adrianza remained red hot with a one-hop single, while Contreras drilled a go-ahead two-run double to the right-center-field gap.

Adrianza has strengthened his bid for a bench spot by recording eight hits in his past 13 at-bats. Contreras likely needs to continue playing every day at the Minor League level. But with the Triple-A season not beginning until May, the Braves could opt to carry the young catcher, who continues to impress with his opposite-field power.

“That kid is maturing,” Snitker said. “He’s come a long way. He’s got skills.”

Good tuneup
Snitker was impressed with what he saw from Drew Smyly, who surrendered one hit and recorded six strikeouts over five scoreless innings against the Rays. The left-hander was making his first Grapefruit League appearance since March 9. He had pitched in two sim games over the past two weeks.

“I thought his stuff was really good and efficient,” Snitker said. “He looks like he’s ready to go.”

Soroka Update
Mike Soroka extended his long rehab process by throwing in yet another simulated game on Wednesday. The Braves have not revealed when Soroka might be cleared to pitch in an actual game, but it still appears the talented right-hander could rejoin Atlanta’s rotation in late April.

“Everything is going really, really good for him right now,” Snitker said of Soroka, who had his torn right Achilles tendon surgically repaired in August.

Roster moves
The Braves optioned outfielder Guillermo Heredia to the team’s alternate training site and reassigned infielder Ryan Goins to Minor League camp. Neither was ever considered a strong candidate for the Opening Day roster. Atlanta now has 37 players in camp.

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